Angelica Bengtsson of Sweden competes to win the gold medal on the on the Women's Pole Vault Final on the day five of the 14th IAAF World Junior Championships in Barcelona on 14 July 2012 (Getty Images) © Copyright
Report The overwhelming pre

Barcelona 2012 - Event Report - Women's Pole Vault

The overwhelming preevent favourite, World junior record holder and defending champion Angelica Bengtsson lived up to the 9,000 spectators’ expectations as the Swedish star not only defended her World Junior title but she also set a new Championships record 4.50.

Bengtsson had 3 unsuccessful attempts at a would-be World leading 4.60 but it mattered little for the London-bound 19-year-old who only needed three jumps to add yet another accolade to her long list of honours.

Australia’s Liz Parnov, the only athlete in the field with the credentials likely to unsettle Bengtsson, took silver at 4.30 after she nearly crashed out at her opening height of 4.20 which she only cleared with her third attempt.

In fact it was revealed that Parnov was competing injured and was aiming at a desperate attempt to get a medal with the fewer possible jumps. Which reminds us of a certain Steve Hooker at the Berlin World Championships…

"I tore my quad slightly about three weeks ago and have been literally just recovering in training leading into these championships. Today, after some good medical advice and a really strong recovery we decided to head out and see how the leg held up and luckily for me it did and I’ve come away with a medal."

Parnov, who just like Bengtsson will now be looking at competing at her best at the London Olympic Games, decided to bow out of the competition and let the Swede enjoy the spotlight just a little longer.

"London is just over a fortnight away and that is a dream come true. I want to head to my first Games in the best possible shape I can so I decided to retire tonight."

The bronze medal went to Roberta Bruni, fourth on the season’s World lists at 4.35 and sixth at the 2010 Youth Olympic Games.

Lying in sixth after a third time clearance at 4.15 and a second time clearance at 4.05 Bruni regrouped for a superb third round clearance at 4.20, a height that the other girls in the field could not master, meaning the Italian was guaranteed of a medal.

A 4.30 jumper this year, Anjuli Knäsche in the lead after all athletes but Bengtsson – who had yet to enter the competition at that stage – had scored 2 misses at 4.20 decided to save her last attempt for 4.25 hoping she would remain among the medallists.

Unfortunately for the 18-year-old German the tactics didn’t pay off as she saw first Parnov and then Bruni claim third time clearances at that height leaving her in fourth. Unsuccessful at 4.25, Knäsche ended joined fourth with Kira Grunberg, the Austrian setting a National Junior record 4.15.

Emily Grove of USA, fifth on World lists at 4.32, would have to be content with a sixth place with the same height. Undefeated since September 2006, Bengtsson is a now a 2-time World Junior, European Junior, World Youth and Olympic Youth champion.

Laura Arcoleo for the IAAF